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  ARE YOU PROUD OF TEXAS AGRICULTURE?
 
By: Aaron Alejandro, TX FFA Foundation Executive Director
October 13, 2016

 
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What are we?  What are they saying?  When we think of the FFA, is it cows, plows and sows or is it beakers, speakers and job seekers?  Are we part of the general public’s dialog?  Are we STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) or should we be promoting STEAM (science, technology, engineering, agriculture and mathematics)?  Are we the “agriculture industry” or are we “farmers and ranchers?”  Does it make a difference?  Spend a little time on the internet, do a little surfing and you’ll find we have a lot to be proud of – we just need a larger constituency to understand. 

“I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds - achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years.”

Do a little social listening. Social listening is the process of monitoring digital media channels to devise a strategy to better influence consumers.  Do audiences identify with “agriculture” or do they feel better about “farming” and “ranching.”  Let’s see what happens when we Google those terms.

“Negative effects of Farming” – 57,800,000
“Negative effects of Agriculture” – 155,000,000

Fourth Grade Challenge

“If agriculture has taught me one thing...if you want to know what the future is…grow it.”  If we want to have agricultural classes full of students, we need to start cultivating them NOW.  If we want to change the public’s perception of our program, agriculture, farming or ranching, we have to start cultivating and planting what ideas, concepts and students we want to grow.  Start with the fourth graders.

Fourth graders represent the first generation which will have grown up in a totally “mobile” society. From cell phones, computers and tablets, we have to be creative while competing for the minds of fourth graders …who better to share this message than Texas FFA members.  We challenge you to take your officers, a vet tech class, wildlife class, floral design class or welding class into the mainstream elementary school and show them how “cool” it is to be a FFA member.

We can change our image, what people understand, how they view us if we take the initiative to use best practices, innovations and technology tools in telling our story.  We need to meet the elementary students on their turf - in their school.  We need to have a strong social media presence – telling our story through user generated content (UGC) … content like that on the MYTEXASFFA.ORG website and MYTEXASFFA App.

“I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.”
I’m proud of our Texas farmers, ranchers, FFA members, teachers, parents and stakeholders.  Being proud is not enough … we need ACTION!  We need to stand tall on the shoulders of those who went before.  We need to speak loud and share our collective voices for the Texas FFA today.  We need to plant seeds of greatness in those who will follow in our footsteps … if you’re proud of the Texas FFA … what are you doing to show it?



 


 
 
 
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